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Traditional in the Front, Modern in the Back

GreenHeart’s client’s home in Cleveland Park DC was built in 1925. It is classic in the front but a glass-walled addition by a previous owner makes it contemporary in the rear.

The homeowners have a strong sense of design evidenced by their interior furnishings and a lovely art collection. Our design directive was to create a mostly-evergreen and simple, geometric planting palette in the front and a softer, more colorful and inventive garden in the rear. In the back garden, they wanted space for a small vegetable garden and spots to move their chairs about for different experiences of the yard.

Because they have views of the narrow back garden from each of three floors, we wanted to make the back fence line of the garden — which includes a gate and steps down to a parking area accessed through an alley — the focal point. Our clients found some modern zen linear planting containers that serve that purpose well.

We designed several sitting areas to augment the concrete paver patio that was already there. An irregular ‘stone spine’ walkway leads first to the grilling area then, with stone steps down the grade, to the larger stone patio at the end of the property.

We collaborated closely with the residents on every aspect of the design. They selected a stone we’d never used before because it has a bit of shine from mica. The shrub forms, shades of color, leaf shapes, and textures were matters of great attention. The homeowners love their ‘seed pod lawn’ surrounded by carefully selected shrubs and perennials. They will have interest in all four seasons, with gorgeous, sometimes fragrant blooms, evergreen foliages, and beautiful bark and berries.

Great American Landscapes constructed the garden, and OlsonWeaver Lighting designed and installed the lighting, with the owners’ help selecting fixtures. Just completed, can’t you imagine it filled in in two years? A lovely city retreat.

Tradtional in the Front, Modern in the Back